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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Species Concepts and Natural Goodness

Species Concepts and Natural Goodness

Chapter:
(p.289) 13 Species Concepts and Natural Goodness
Source:
Carving Nature at Its Joints
Author(s):

Judith K. Crane

Ronald Sandler

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.003.0013

This chapter defends a pluralist understanding of species on which a normative species concept is viable and can support natural goodness evaluations. The central question here is thus: Since organisms are to be evaluated as members of their species, how does a proper understanding of species affect the feasibility of natural goodness evaluations? Philippa Foot has argued for a form of natural goodness evaluation in which living things are evaluated by how well fitted they are for flourishing as members of their species, in ways characteristic of their species. She has further argued that assessments of moral goodness in humans are of the same evaluative form. However, natural goodness evaluations and, by extension, the natural goodness approach, do not garner justification in virtue of employing a scientifically privileged conception of species. The natural goodness approach is only justified given particular metaethical and normative commitments that are independent of naturalism, since the approach does not depend upon naturalism alone.

Keywords:   pluralist understanding, normative species concept, natural goodness evaluations, Philippa Foot, moral goodness, natural goodness approach, naturalism

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